Music Review: Grouplove makes it easy to trust a happy song

Angelene Sun, Columnist

Grouplove is taking the stage at Chicago’s Riviera Theatre Nov. 8. Already established as a live show mainstay in the indie realm, the rock band is sure to heat up a chilly November day in Chicago. Looking back on its debut album “Never Trust a Happy Song,” released in 2011, I realized how much I missed, well, happy songs. As Christian Zucconi and Hannah Hooper shout in the song “Chloe,” “We don’t need permission / We can go where we wanna go, say what we wanna say, and do what we wanna do,” their rebellious almost naive zest for life is irresistible.

The album starts with the typical opener “Itchin’ On a Photograph.” It is rich with hand claps and Zucconi’s poetically tortured vocals sliding in and out of sustained notes. “Tongue Tied” immediately changes the pace and puts you into a danceable mood. The experimental song “Slow” is the first time Hooper’s voice is put under the spotlight. Then comes one of my favorite songs in the album, “Naked Kids.” Even though it’s one of the first tracks the band released, it still sounds as fresh and vibrant as when it first came out. It’s a perfect set-up for toe tapping and head shaking; by now, if you have resisted the urge, you won’t be able to anymore. There’s a definite slip in quality toward the middle section of the album. However, when listening to the record, it’s not these negatives that you dwell on, but rather the undeniable energy you are feeling.

Although its studio recording is generally satisfying, Grouplove’s live performance moves far beyond that. This May, I saw Grouplove perform live for the first time and I have to be corny and say that witnessing it was almost life altering. I still get goose bumps when I think about it. Just as Zucconi said in an interview, Grouplove’s live sound is like “best friends skydiving.” Somehow, the band manages to release all the energy stocked in its recordings on stage thanks to the members’ flawless cooperation skills and palpable spirit. They jumped and bopped wildly; Zucconi and Hooper almost slammed heads at some points. Every single band member seemed as if they were having the absolute best day of their lives. The crowd received and spread the love vibes. During the show, fans were hugging, laughing and arm locking. Especially during the encore crowd-pleaser “Colours,”  I could almost feel the bouncy, bubbly, shiny love in the atmosphere.

Chicago kids are lucky because new bands deem it a place to test their live performances and usually go hard for their shows. Tickets for the Nov. 8 show can still be found online. If you love Grouplove’s music, or are just simply distraught about the dropping temperature, don’t hesitate to take a ride down to the city next Thursday. Their music won’t fail to lift your spirits. The sound of the summer will carry you through the looming winter.